The NorLense Oil Trawl is an innovative oil spill recovery solution that makes cleanup faster, easier and more effective. It also makes the job less dangerous for workers. “Oil Trawl can be deployed and retrieved by just one worker. It is just as much a worker safety product as it is an environmental cleanup solution,” says Aril Jørgensen of NorLense.
The massive oil spill off the island of Mauritius in 2020 reminded the world of the dangers of transporting oil by sea. While the number of large spills has been declining, small oil spills (less than 7 metric tons) account for more than 80 per cent of all oil spills at sea.
“Small spills happen quite frequently, even though most people don’t hear about them,” says Jørgensen. When oil spills occur, no matter the size, cleanup can be costly, cumbersome and risky for workers.
The NorLense Oil Trawl is a three-in-one oil spill recovery solution that collects spilled oil, separates it from the water, and stores it in a bag – all in one operation.
The Oil Trawl equipment is stored in an onboard container, saving deck space. In addition, it can be easily deployed directly into the sea and retrieved by just one worker. Single point inflation of the containment boom makes operation simpler as well.
“We need to have equipment that is easy to use and easy to train others how to use. If it’s not easy, then people won’t train with it ,” says Jørgensen.
The Oil Trawl is designed to handle oil flow rates of 4–5 knots, which is much faster than conventional systems that operate at only 1 knot. As a result, more of the spilled oil can be collected, protecting marine life.
Moreover, the Oil Trawl simplifies recovery efforts by eliminating the need for an additional cleanup vessel and sweeper, the machine traditionally used to physically separate oil from water. This saves time, money and manpower.
The Oil Trawl reduces the inherent dangers of oil spill recovery operations. Thanks to its streamlined process, the system requires fewer workers overall, and those involved stay safer on slick surfaces.
“It’s extremely dangerous for workers to stand in front of the equipment, especially because the deck is so slippery,” Jørgensen explains. “But with Oil Trawl they don’t have to.”
In addition, the remote control keeps workers off the deck in extreme conditions.
“If you’re in the Arctic, you don’t want to spend a lot of time on deck in freezing temperatures. The Oil Trawl’s remote control lets workers stay inside during much of the cleanup process,” says Jørgensen.
The International Convention on Oil Pollution, Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC.aspx)) establishes measures for dealing with marine oil pollution incidents.
A total of 112 countries are signatories to the convention, which requires ships to have oil emergency pollution plans. Many oil tankers, oil rigs and the like are subject to stringent national requirements as well, creating a need for efficient, cost-effective oil spill cleanup.
The NorLense Oil Trawl is used by customers around the world, including port authorities, government agencies, and oil companies, particularly at oil refineries and terminals.
Established in Norway in 1975, NorLense also delivers an innovative solution for inflatable shelters.
8. Decent work and economic growth
The NorLense Oil Trawl creates safer onboard conditions for oil spill recovery workers.
14. Life below water
The NorLense Oil Trawl has the capacity to collect more spilled oil than conventional methods, minimising impact on the marine environment.